I grab Number Two’s hand and speak firm and low. “I will give you candy from the gift shop if you say you want to go back to the hotel right now,” I whisper, as Number One and my husband jabber away about how cool its gonna be on the water rides at Islands of Adventure. He tilts his head to the side and narrows his eyes. “Can I play the iPad?” he counters softly.
OK, maybe not my proudest parenting moment. But we had been at the theme park since 7:30 that morning.We survived an hour wait at the Harry Potter ride (not even that long by Disney standards, if you believe the urban legend that claims 8-hour waits and lines snaking down the city walk and all the way back to our hotel).
And the ride was absolutely amazing. Even waiting in the line through “the castle” was entertaining– with talking portraits and impressive, realistic details and even with hologram Harry and Hermione and Ron greeting us as we made our way through. The actual ride was like what would happen if your favorite roller coaster had a baby with your favorite Harry Potter movie. You actually soar through the air just behind Harry over the Quidditch field.
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We drank Butter Beer and rode the Hippogriff over and over again. I barely survived Dueling Dragons and couldn’t walk straight for thirty minutes afterwards. We tore ourselves away from Hogsmeade long enough to clamor around Jurassic Park’s rope course and cavernous mazes, and enjoyed the birds-eye view as the Pteranodon flyers whipped us over and around the park.
All of it was quite good. Very fun, actually.
But as the day progressed and the temperatures rose and the crowds swelled my body began to ache. I was exhausted. I found myself fantasizing about my Kindle. And my bed. And air conditioning. And an icy Diet Coke from the hotel gift shop. As much as I wanted to be on board for slipping on bathing suits and doing water rides throughout the afternoon, every time I passed yet another theme song blaring from yet another ride, with its fevered pitch and maniacal, noisily insistent pace, I wanted peace and quiet so badly I could taste it.
So I enlisted the help of my youngest to get a little break from our Break. Who knew that you would need to train for Spring Break the way you would for a triathlon?
Once back in the quiet of our room, curled up with The Paris Wife on my Kindle and that icy DC in my hand, I realized that my appreciation for the quiet is all the more pronounced because of the chaos that is a daily occurrence with all of my wild boys (including the one I married).
And perhaps because we may never see eye to eye on some things – especially while Daddy continues his trek into the stratosphere as Rock Star and Coolest Parent Ever (always up for a game of basketball or a game of fill-in-the-blank-ball; breaks out Wrestle Mania at a moment’s notice; thinks swimming in the pool counts as bathing for the summer; bedtime schmedtime!) – I see it is my duty to expose them to the softer things in life. Even in the face of overwhelming pressure to cave and come over to the wild side, I will stand firm. I will not shirk my responsibilities here. Bring on the Spa!
On our last night in Orlando we decide to rank our favorite Spring Break adventures. The boys start listing all the wild roller coasters and hotly debate which one deserves first place. Then they turn to me.
“What about you, Mom? What was your favorite?”
I pretend to give it deep thought, but I totally know my answer. “First, hotel,” I begin. My pick is met with cries of dissent.
“Mom! Hotel isn’t a ride! You can’t pick hotel!” Their voices clamor away, incredulous.
Oh, but I can. And you can too, actually.
Want some candy?
This post orginally ran on “Skirt” on Thursday, April 19, 2012